Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010WPA map of the Battle of Resaca, May 13-15, 1864*
For his part, Sherman is under the impression that Johnston is merely stalling to gain time to retreat further south across the Ostanaula River. With that in mind, Sherman ordered a pontoon bridge to be assembled across the river at Lay's Ferry, which he planed to use in order to cut of Johnston's retreat. In the meantime, he will try to keep Johnston's army in place.
Soon on the 13th, Federal soldiers began skirmishing with the Confederates, probing the army's strength. Full-scale fighting commenced early the following morning. Sherman ordered the attacked to begin on what he assumed to be the Confederate right. Due to the difficult terrain Sherman's assault accomplished little, and by mid-afternoon it ground to a halt with significant losses. Changing strategies, he he ordered an artillery bombardment of the Confederate position.
Cleburne reported that during the afternoon, "the enemy made several attempts to charge, but uniformly they were unhappy failures." In this afternoon struggle, Cleburne's sharpshooters had the major role. They repeatedly silenced the Union batteries firing from 800 yards away, and also destroyed a line of Federal skirmishers. On Hood's front, his men made a successful charge before darkness brought it to a halt. Union troops were generally repulsed along the line.
Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010Cemetery at Resaca, final resting place for some 400 Confederate fallen,
many of whom are unknown
The battle's outcome was indecisive. For its part, the 32nd Mississippi Regiment suffered 5 killed and 7 wounded. As a whole the army received 2,800 casualties to a Union loss of over 4,000.
|Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010|
Johnston will rest his army at Calhoun before marching them on the 17th to a new defensive position at Adairsville.
* An excellent map of the battle is available at the Civil War Trust website.